Professor Hugh Possingham has been awarded a five year $2.4M Australian Research Council Laureate to allow the development of a rigorous framework for deciding if protecting habitat is better than restoring it.
Prof Possingham is Director of the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions and Vice-chancellor’s senior research fellow at the University of Queensland. Hugh attained Applied Mathematics Honours at the University of Adelaide prior to completing a D.Phil at Oxford University in 1987. A mathematician that applies his skills for enhanced environmental outcomes certainly can be quite controversial at times and Wildlife Queensland does not always share his views. However his contribution to conservation has been significant and has produced practical workable outcomes.
It is Wildlife Queensland’s understanding that a series of case studies would focus on the important conservation outcomes of securing and delivering ecosystem services to society and would provide advice to policy makers and managers at regional, national and international levels. This is highly significant as we all know our wildlife do not even recognise state borders let alone national boundaries.
According to Hugh the combination of ecology and maths will be used to construct a new theory that tests the ‘prevention is better than cure’ paradigm. Let us hope this paints a way forward for us because our current approach is simply not working effectively. In spite of the biodiversity conservation national strategies released in 1996 and further refined in 2012, the decline in biodiversity has not even been arrested let alone the trend reversed.
Wildlife Queensland congratulates Hugh on receiving this research grant and hopefully the Environment and Biodiversity conservation will be the big winners. Under the current Government they need all the help they can get.
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